Whether you just want to edit the footage you recorded during your last holiday trip so you can show it to your friends and family or create an original content and publish it on YouTube, our selection of best budget laptops for video editing in 2017 will help you finish your project.
Best Laptop For Video Editing
|Dell||Dell XPS 15||1519.99|
|Asus||ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW-US71 15.6-Inch||1299|
|Razer||Razer Blade Stealth 12.5" QHD Ultrabook||1059|
|Apple||Apple MacBook Air 13.3-Inch Laptop||873.83|
|Asus||ASUS C302 Touchscreen Chromebook Flip||469.99|
Here’s what a good video editing laptop should have:
- Powerful CPU: Video editing and encoding are very performance-demanding tasks. Unless you have the time and patience to wait a few seconds for every input to register and execute, you better get a laptop with a powerful multi-core processor.
- Enough RAM: For 1080p video, 16 GB of RAM is the sweetspot. For 4K video, 32 GB of RAM provides plenty of available resources for various background activities and future-proofs your laptop. That said, we don’t recommend budget laptops for 4K video editing, unless you plan on editing 4K footage once in a blue moon.
- Plenty of storage space: We don’t need to tell you how large can high-definition recordings be. Unfortunately, most budget laptops don’t come with large, fast storage devices. At best, you’ll be looking at a combination of a small SSD for the operating system and a large, but slow, hard drive for data. A good solution is an external drive connected via USB 3.0, 3.1, or Thunderbolt.
- Capable GPU: Video editing software is designed to use GPU acceleration to speed up video processing. A dedicated GPU can vastly decrease the time it takes to render video footage while also improving the overall responsiveness of the video editing software.
- High-resolution display: For comfortable video editing, it’s critical to fit a host of toolbars together with a video-preview window on a single screen. That’s possible only with high-resolution displays, which means that you should avoid laptops with a resolution lower than 1920 x 1080 pixels. An excellent color-accuracy is a nice bonus, but you can make up for an inaccurate display with an external display for post-production.
- Ports: If you’re serious about content creation, sooner or later, you’ll want to edit on a large monitor using a full-sized keyboard and a comfortable mouse or a trackball. A docking connector makes it easy to turn your laptop into a desktop computer, but even an HDMI output for video and several USB ports for peripherals are enough, in most cases.
The Dell XPS 15 is an inspiring laptop with all the bells and whistles a content creator might want. The laptop features a latest-generation Intel Quad Core processor together with the GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card with 4 GB of dedicated video memory. If you go with the basic configuration, you’ll get 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD for storage. If you have more money to spare, you can select a model with 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB SSD. Alternatively, you can go with the basic model and add more RAM when needed because the Dell XPS 15 has an additional memory slot, allowing you to increase the total amount of RAM up to 32 GB.
Regardless of whether you start with the lower-specced model and upgrade over time or go right to the top, you’ll always be able to enjoy video editing on a stunning 15.6-inch InfinityEdge display with 3840 x 2160 pixels. The display covers 100 percent of the Adobe RGB color spectrum, ensuring vivid, accurate colors. Thanks to the IPS display technology, you can look at the laptop from almost every angle without any perceivable loss of visual quality. And as you may expect from a 4K display in 2017, touch input is supported.
The Dell XPS 15 has a multi-use Thunderbolt 3 port for charging, external displays, and fast data transfers. With a single cable, you can connect power, Ethernet, audio, and video to enjoy the laptop’s performance on a large screen.
The Asus ZenBook Pro is a well-rounded, beautifully designed laptop that won’t let you down regardless of whether you use it for video editing, office work, entertainment, or gaming. That’s because the masterfully crafted metal chassis hides a powerful Intel Core i7 processor and a gaming-grade graphics card, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M with 2 GB of discrete video memory.
The chassis also hides a brilliant 4K, 15.6-inch display with a wide color gamut of 72 percent NTSC, 100 percent sRGB, 74 percent Adobe RGB, and consistent colors at wide viewing angles up to 178 degrees. The display also features a precise touch layer with support for up to 10 simultaneous points of touch.
Asus sees the ZenBook line of laptops as a mark craftsmanship and the refusal to compromise. The Asus ZenBook Pro lives up to the promise of excellence with the inclusion of the SonicMaster Premium sound-enhancement technology that drives a pair of high-fidelity speakers from Bang and Olufsen. 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.1 Type C, and Thunderbolt 2.0 with two 20 Gbps bi-directional channels provide excellent connectivity.
Right off the bat, we’d like to explain one reason why you may want to NOT go with the MacBook Air for video editing because it goes hand-in-hand with the host of reasons why the MacBook Air is a great machine for video editing. If you prefer video editing software from Adobe, such as Adobe Premier and Adobe After Effects, over Apple’s Final Cut Pro, either get a more powerful MacBook or go with a Windows laptop.
Truth be told, the 2015 (nor the 2017, for that matter) MacBook Air isn’t really powerful—it’s capable. While the Intel Core i5 processor has held up great since 2015, the presence of only 8 GB of RAM and the Intel HD Graphics 6000 slightly hold it back. The thing is that you won’t notice the laptop’s age if you use Final Cut Pro—and only Final Cut Pro. Apple has done such a great job optimizing their video editing software, making it use MacBook Air’s processing power to every last megahertz, that they’ve managed to eliminate lags and made the software feel incredibly smooth. On the other hand, it won’t take a long time before you encounter your first lag when using Adobe Premier or After Effects.
Thanks to the excellent optimization, the MacBook Air is a fantastic choice for casual users and aspiring content creators who don’t see ultra-high resolutions and storage-space-sucking bitrates as something that’s necessary to strive for. Sometimes, it’s better to go with a less powerful laptop that you’ll look forward to using and won’t have any problems carrying with your everywhere you go.
The Razer Blade Stealth is not yet another gaming laptop with RGB lights, noisy fans, a mediocre battery life. It could be argued that the Razer Blade Stealth is the affordable MacBook that Apple fans never got. Even though its display is just 12.5 inches large, it has 2560 x 1440 resolution and wide viewing angles of up to 170°. It also comes with the Intel Core i5-7200U dual-core processor, 16 GB of RAM, and the Intel HD Graphics 620 integrated graphics card.
That alone would make it an excellent purchase, especially considering its price, but it wouldn’t exactly make it special. What make it special, though, is the optional Razer Core graphics enclosure. This plug-and-play solution connects via Thunderbolt 3 and introduces the ability to easily upgrade the graphic performance of the laptop with a desktop graphics card. With the Razor Core, you get both the excellent battery life and low temperatures of an ultrabook and the performance and versatility of a much larger laptop with a dedicated graphics card.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that Chromebooks and video editing are like fire and ice. Since it’s now possible to install Play Store apps on Chromebooks, there’s no shortage of excellent video editors that can quickly deliver professional results. Don’t believe us? Go to Play Store and check how many free, well-rated video editors there are for yourself.
The only caveat is that the video editors that you can download from Play Store (even the paid ones) don’t have nearly as many features as professional video editing software such as Adobe Premier or Final Cut Pro. If you’d like to learn how to create visual effects or plan on editing multiple hours of video footages on a daily basis, you may really be better off with a Windows-based laptop or a MacBook.
But if your video editing requirements are modest, there’s nothing that can beat the price, reliability, and simplicity of a Chromebook, and the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 is among our favorites. For less than $500, you’ll get a Full HD 12.5-inch display with a 360-degree hinge that allows you to transform the laptop into a tablet, a power-efficient Intel Core m3 processor with 64 GB of storage space, and 4 GB of RAM.